altI have to tell you this story because it really made me laugh even though it has a fairly tenuous pub link.
My dad is one of those guys who spends an inordinate amount of time in the pub, which goes someway to explaining my career path. He likes a drink but his main reason for going is to catch up with his mates and enjoy the banter at the bar. You know the sort, work hard, play harder.
Typically he is at the centre of it and so it proved last weekend.
We had a little bit of a night out with my brother and respective partners to celebrate my sibling’s forthcoming wedding. It extended into a fairly heavy night and, suffice to say, the pubs in the New Cross and East Dulwich areas of London did fairly well out of us.
The next day, with hangovers not fully faded, my dad decided to drive back to Ipswich. The problem was he couldn’t find his old BMW.
Calls to the police were made and the lowlifes of New Cross were roundly scorned for taking my old man’s pride and joy and presumably leaving it in a burnt out heap somewhere.
My brother did the decent thing and completed the 150-mile round trip from his flat to the Sorrel Horse in Suffolk, where my Dad promptly told his mates about his most unfortunate experience.
A couple of hours later, still drowning his sorrows in a pint he received a text message from my brother with a photograph attached of his car, parked exactly where he had left in in New Cross. This was in a street parallel to the one he had been patrolling and was convinced was where he had left it.
Unless the thieves had mysteriously parked it and re-fuelled the car it was clear he had simply failed to look hard enough.
Cue huge banter at the pub with people following him to the toilet at every opportunity to make sure he didn’t get lost and offers to drive him home in case he couldn’t find his house.
He’s been getting stick ever since, and rightly so.
And what does this show? Well, that my old man really losing the plot and should maybe wait a bit longer before contemplating driving, but also that the pub is the best place in the world for banter. He was the story of the day and people will remind him about it every so often.
But there will be another tale of this kind at the Sorrel Horse and every other pub in the land this week.
My first editor once said to me the pub is the best place to find stories. He was right, and they are often the funniest and most revealing of community life in Britain. It is one of the things that makes pubs unique places to spend time.
Sorry dad.